Today’s Morning File is written by Halifax Examiner transportation columnist, Erica Butler, who will probably never win a race against a bus.

On campus
In the harbour


1. Lisa Roberts elected in Halifax-Needham

To no-one’s surprise, NDP candidate Lisa Roberts handily won a seat in the provincial legislature last night, representing Halifax-Needham.  Now we can get back to speculating on when the Liberals will call the next general election.

The unofficial results for Halifax Needham, from Elections Nova Scotia. 2016-08-31 at 10.19.05 AM
The unofficial results for Halifax-Needham, from Elections Nova Scotia.

The voter turnout was a poor 32.5%.  Though for an election called over a summer long weekend (my enumerator even complained to me about the late start that resulted), and taking place the last week before school, perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on the citizens of Halifax-Needham for their poor showing.  It’s the politicians in charge who decide when to call elections, and they tend not to consider pesky things like voter turnout, at least if ex-politico Graham Steele is to be believed.

2. Union estimates Herald has spent $400,000 on security since strike began

Chris Van Luven charges the Herald $525/day, according to the Halifax Typographical Union.
Chris Van Luven charges the Herald $525/day, according to the Halifax Typographical Union.

The Halifax Typographical Union has called out the Chronicle Herald on Facebook for paying Vancouver-based security firm Mitigation Partners “more per hour than HTU members were to deliver the news of the day.”  From HTU’s post:

The Herald pays private investigators $42 per hour to spy on union members virtually every day, usually for an average of 15 hours a day. This costs the Herald about $5,000 a week or more.

3. Rent strike countdown back on in Spryfield

Just as concern over a postal strike eases up, a group of Halifax tenants are counting down to a possible rent strike, reports the NS Advocate.  Residents of Greystone in Spryfield are giving the province 30 days to complete requested repairs before they start paying their rent to the Tenancies Board instead of their landlord, the Metro Regional Housing Authority. Residents are dealing with things like mould, rodent and bird infestations, and water damage.
There’s a Facebook group  for residents to share information and even lend each other a hand doing repairs.
Back in June the NS Advocate published a slideshow featuring some of the repair issues in Greystone.

4. Province starts 101 twinning process ahead of four higher-ranked stretches

The province has issued an RFP for a consultant to form and run a Community Liaison Committee for the twinning of highway 101 from Three Mile Plains to Falmouth.
This 10.8 km stretch of highway ranked fifth out of eight stretches of highway studied recently by CBCL, who assessed different stretches on safety, traffic volumes, cost vs. revenue, travel time and travel cost savings, environmental concerns, and land acquisition.
No other RFPs have been issued regarding the other seven stretches of highway listed in the report, and it’s not clear why the government is starting with the fifth-ranked Falmouth stretch, which will cost an estimated $140 million to build.

The Falmouth stretch, from CBCL's feasibility study on twinning highways in Nova Scotia.
The Falmouth stretch, from CBCL’s feasibility study on twinning highways in Nova Scotia.
The Falmouth stretch, from CBCL’s feasibility study on twinning highways in Nova Scotia.


A map showing the limited access points to the Halifax Peninsula, making it a natural candidate for cordon tolling, from The Feasibility of Implementing a Congestion Charge on the Halifax Peninsula, 2011
A map showing the limited access points to the Halifax Peninsula, making it a natural candidate for cordon tolling, from The Feasibility of Implementing a Congestion Charge on the Halifax Peninsula, 2011

1. Is congestion pricing part of our transportation solution?

In my weekly transportation column for the Halifax Examiner, I explore the idea of congestion pricing, based on two recent reports.

It turns out that congestion pricing could dramatically affect the success of ideas like commuter rail, high speed ferries, or bus rapid transit in Halifax, and we might need to consider it as part and parcel of these higher orders of transit.

This article is behind the Examiner’s paywall, and so is available only to subscribers.

Check out your subscription options here!


Man vs. Bus: who’s the real #1?

The wonderful photo/video project Halifolks has documented a runner racing the #1 Spring Garden from Scotia Square to the Mumford Terminal, and winning. Minh Tan says that he’s raced the bus about 50 times over the years, and wins about half the time. Extra points go to “Brad the bus driver” for the classy move of handing Tan a brand new transfer to get home. And for his parting words: “Remember, yield to the bus, people!”

YouTube video


No public meetings.

On campus


Thesis Defence, Physics and Atmospheric Science (10am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Matthew Cooper will defend his thesis, “Interpreting Satellite Remote Sensing Observations Using a Chemical Transport Model: Implications for Processes Affecting Tropospheric Nox and Ozone.”

In the harbour

4am: NYK Diana, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
5am: Itea, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
6am: ZIM Constanza, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
6am: ZIM Savannah, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from New York
3:30pm: Itea, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England
4:30pm: ZIM Constanza, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for New York
8:30pm: ZIM Savannah, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for Kingston, Jamaica

5am:Anthem of the Seas, cruise ship, arrives at Pier 22 from Saint John with up to 4,180 passengers
7am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 36 to Autoport
7:15am: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Pier 36 from Saint-Pierre
11:30am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Autoport to Pier 41
4:30pm: Anthem of the Seas, cruise ship, sails from Pier 22 for New York


I got to vote yesterday, so that feels nice.

I’d like it to feel even nicer, so I’m paying attention to the people over at Fair Vote Halifax, who happen to be hosting a discussion tomorrow night.  Check it out, why don’t ya?

And as always, please consider subscribing to the Examiner. Just $5 or $10 a month goes a long way. Or, consider making a one-time contribution via PayPal. Thanks much!

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  1. I agree with Sharon, Ben & Trans. Your “analysis” of the result is lame and disappointing. It certainly didn’t seem like a shoe-in on the ground. I’d say the strength of the win was a telling response to McNeil cuts as well as the Maureen’s record, Lisa’s record and personality and an effective campaign.

  2. Congestion pricing could alter light rail solution also. The greenest possibility should be at the forefront really. The diesel commuter sounds terrific but will be obsolete by the time it’s up and running. Let’s avoid future studies

  3. “To no-one’s surprise, NDP candidate Lisa Roberts handily won a seat in the provincial legislature. . .”

    Erica, this is not quite accurate. The NDP candidate — the campaign and many volunteers — worked very hard but there was no one who took this victory for granted. Maureen had won the seat in 2013 by a much smaller margin than she was accustomed to — just over 200 votes. The Liberals are polling high and they ran a high-profile, “star” candidate. Lisa was not well-known when the campaign started but her hard work, knowledge of the riding, and the help she got in her community resulted in her win.

    Instead of “to no-one’s surprise,” I think I might say, “to many people’s relief.”

    1. I was thinking something similar. The Liberal candidate sold himself as a social-justice kind of guy (and despite the fact that he ran for the McNeil Liberals, sounds like he has a respectable track record on that from what I know). The Liberals are high in the polls provincially and the federal riding of course went Liberal in the fall – pretty sure even many of the areas in Needham voted Liberal. I’m sure Liberal canvassers said the words “Justin Trudeau” on every doorstep. I was surprised there was such a wide margin of victory.

    2. As a Needham resident, I never considered voting for anyone but Lisa Roberts because: NDP but when I learned that the Liberal candidate is a queer doctor who works with the NECHC (all strengths in my book), I became convinced that Wilson would win.

      So I was flabbergasted but happy to learn that Roberts had been elected. MacDonald has a good reputation, apparently, but she ignored my letter when I reached out for her help last year. I am hopeful that Roberts will prove more responsive as an MLA but my faith in politicians is at an all-time low.